Clare Island Yoga Retreat

»Mindful living«

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Untamed beauty set in 240 acres of the Irish Wilderness; Clare Island Yoga Retreat Centre is one of those all-too-rare centers run by true yogis. With sustainability at the forefront of their philosophy, solar panels, wood burning stoves, a small organic farm and a private spring for fresh water, this center is the perfect place to spend time getting to know yourself again.

  • What we love
  • Beautiful, rugged island location
  • Sustainable outlook
  • Home-cooked food
  • A recently increased number of yoga and meditation courses
  • What to know
  • Isolated location
  • Weather is volatile
  • No distractions or entertainment
  • Why go
  • Escape modern living
  • Enjoy Ireland’s natural beauty

Mindful living is the term that comes to mind when discussing Clare Island Yoga Retreat Centre. From the strong Karma yoga influence to the lovingly home-cooked food, every aspect of the centre allows you to feel nourished from within.

Clare Island Yoga Retreat Centre is run by Frenchman Christophe Mouze and Irish-American Ciara Cullen. Christophe trained in Iyengar yoga in the 90’s but like many others has now drawn inspiration from other styles. Ciara has a strong background in dance but immediately fell in love with the Ashtanga style, integrating it with Vinyasa and Scaravelli. Both Christophe and Ciara teach short retreats at the center, which is also their permanent home. Their love and devotion to the center is apparent to all visitors.

The yoga courses on offer at the centre are varied: yoga and vegetarian cooking, yoga and horsemanship or a yoga-only retreat. They all range from 3 to 6 days with a number of visiting teachers such as Scaravelli teacher Rossella Baroncini or Indian teachers from Mysore; Yogacharya Venkatesha and Acharye Hema. Retreats and courses run from mid-March to September when the weather becomes mild enough for a stroll around the windswept grounds or even the island. Three times a year the center offers Open House, where experienced yogis can practice in the peace and solitude of the island, or beginners can engage in the one-on-one intensity that lays a strong foundation for future self-led practice. There are no courses as such during Open House. Instead, Christophe and Ciara offer individual tuition when required, and a daily morning yoga session tailored to the preferred style of their guests. The rest of the day is free for relaxation, exploring, or deeper learning in the form of ad-hoc classes. There is a minimum three-day stay required for Open House.

The accommodation is on-site in an ecologically refurbished cottage (think materials such as wood and terracotta), with the architecture holding true to the island style. The sleeping arrangement is communal, with five twin rooms, one double, and one triple but if sharing your space doesn’t appeal, you can also book a bed and breakfast approximately 15min by cycle down the road. If staying out in the wild is your thing, bring your tent - camping is also an option!

All rooms, and the yoga hall which can fit 18 people, have a gorgeous view over the surroundings. The vegetarian food is sourced locally from either the center’s own garden or locally from nearby farmers. Cooked by Christophe and Ciara themselves, it is a delight to eat!

Accommodation, food and tuition are included in the price. Christophe and Ciara do offer discounts on some of their retreats in exchange for Karma yoga - helping out in the kitchen or on the grounds. If you can’t get enough of the center, WWOOFing there would be the next step - your hard work volunteered in exchange for food, accommodation and yoga.

Clare Island Yoga Retreat is a wild and beautiful slice of solitude in a crowded modern world. It is best suited to yogis looking for a few days to be alone with their thoughts - there is nothing by way of high-tech or even low-tech entertainment here. Instead, the owners offer delicious, nourishing food, clean air, and silence... a rare and precious luxury in a fast-paced lifestyle.

About the area: Clare Island

Clare Island lies off the West coast of Ireland and takes a 20 min ferry ride to reach from the mainland. The permanent population of the Island is around 150 with a spike in the summer months as tourists arrive. The island is great for nature lovers with its untouched terrain and sweeping views of the surrounding ocean. The climate is typically Irish: plenty of rain, although most of it is light. Summer temperatures are the most pleasant, reaching around 19 degrees C, while winter days average a chilly 5 degrees with the occasional Atlantic storm thrown in to keep things exciting.

Image credit: Clare Island Yoga Retreat

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